John Updike poems tend to be eloquent, witty and steeped in realism. His poetry uses a lyrical style mixed with precision and lucidity to create a vivid picture. Though known best for his many novels, Updike also wrote short stories, poetry, essays and critiques.
Born in Pennsylvania in 1932, Updike's work often reflects the beauty and trouble of ordinary life. His style and subjects changed from volume to volume, though he often focused on love, religion, sex and family. He also relied heavily on his own experiences growing up in a small town.
The Carpentered Hen and Other Tame Creatures
Updike published his first book in 1958. The compilation of poetry was titled The Carpentered Hens and Other Tame Creatures. The book was filled with relatively light verse compared to his later work. It detailed the simple and mundane aspects of everyday life to reveal their unique beauty. Though the book is now a source of praise, it received little attention when it was first published.
Endpoint and Other Poems
Updike's last volume of poetry, Endpoint and Other Poems, was published in 2009 after his death. Updike wrote poetry about experiences in ordinary life, and Endpoint is no exception. The volume reflects his advanced age with melancholy and includes references to arthritis, medical procedures and lost loved ones. Though the work is emotional, it never becomes mournful or sappy.
Other Updike Poems
Updike published a total of eight volumes of poetry while living and one posthumously. In addition to The Carpentered Hen and Endpoint, he published Telephone Poles in 1963, Midpoint and Other Poems in 1969, Seventy Poems in 1972, Tossing and Turning in 1977, Facing Nature in 1985, Collected Poems in 1995 and Americana in 2001.
Updike wrote several poems that have not been collected into volumes. Most of these works appeared in various magazines, such as The New Yorker, The New Republic, The American Scholar and even Scientific American.